In 1968, the doors were opened to a place called Bend N Elbow. It had a seven seat bar and a back room with a kitchen.
Lots of floundering went on, we were not sure of what to do or in which direction to go, and we primarily operated as a bar. We served the locals and many staff from the Laurels hotel which was just about 2 miles up Sackett Lake Road. During these years, the Laurels was a very busy hotel which employed many staff; I for one got my training there. I first started as a bar waiter, then spent 8 years as a bartender. I had a dream, and the Blue Moon (the name it had when I acquired it) became the Bend N Elbow.
The early years in Bend N Elbow were trying at the very best. Old building, no air conditioning, poor heating, no insulation, and no future. What to do? I figured I would be out of here soon, that it wasn't my quest in life, maybe I should sell and move on, yet with nothing positive happening I felt that it was time to try and make it work.
As the calendar year turned to the 70’s, we began promoting live music, Tom and Jay, Junction, who was Perry Gips, Peoples Band, who was with the Wayne DeGraw, Rausch Brothers Band, and many other groups; too many to list. We also added Sandwiches, Burgers and Light Food to the mix, the business started to take hold, things picked up and we were on our way.
People like change, it seems as though we are the masters of change, ready to try anything and embrace what works. So as the bands grew old we put a DJ system in our back room. We started to promote specials such as Oldies Night, Beer Blast $2.00 admission all you could drink, Tequila Night 25¢ shots of Tequila Blackberry or Peppermint Schnapps. This drew the young crowd and the students from Sullivan County Community College. In 1977, Community General Hospital opened and we promoted special nights for the new Hospital Staff.
During the 70’s, we also started promoting outside events, in 1976 Bend N Elbow participated with Gagers Dinner in a World Record Softball Marathon held August 13, 14, & 15th. We played around the clock for 367 innings, 54 continuous hours, Gagers 832 hits, Bend N Elbow 749 hits. We played through the rain and the fog. This game, which was scored by the American Softball Association, broke the previous record of 50 hours and 200 innings recorded by the Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. We also had Golf Outings, Little League and numerous other events.
As we became active so did our business and we began the many structural changes that would follow. In the 80’s came the new additions, The Rose Room, The Bar, The Kitchen, air conditioning, new heat and another big change beginning the catering business. This was new and interesting, we had to dig in and learn, and the old program wasn’t working much anymore.
Moving into the 90’s, much had changed including the drinking age now 21, DWI amount of consumption lowered, insurance rates rising. Now we are steadily moving ahead with food service and catering. Our dining room business continued to grow, our catering business is expanding and we’re doing both on and off premise catering. We’re catering movie shoots, soap operas, weddings, Bat and Bar Mitzvahs and all kinds of other events. We start helping some more in the community, we host Christmas with Santa for the CASA kids, Easter Bunny and Egg Hunt for the CASA kids, Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Easter for The Federation For The Homeless, as well as sending food to the shelter, fundraising for RISE and the Recovery Center and many other organizations that are in need of help.
In the first 3 years of 2000, we expanded our Community Service, my staff and myself are proud to be a part of Sullivan County. My staff has never said no to volunteering and helping those in need of help. I salute them, praise them and certainly thank them.
In 2006 we founded Community Unity. We are four organizations (RISE, CASA, Federation For The Homeless & The Recovery Center) here in Sullivan County working to break the cycle of abuse which harms our children and impairs the quality of life in our county.
Also in 2006, I received the Business Man of The Year award from the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce and the Community Service of The Year award from the SYDA Foundation.
My life spanning 40 years of business has been full of challenges and also many rewards. I am most grateful for the people I’ve meet and worked with, for it is they who have kept me here for 40 years. I also am honored to be a part of Sullivan County, working hard to make it a better place for all.
This has been an overview of the last 40 years of my life, from start to present. I would like you to meet my staff. I also would like to share some of the specials we will be having throughout this year.
So for Now,
Thanks To All!
Bill "Mr. Willy" Sipos